BRIAN BEATTY‘s jokes, poems and short stories have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including The Bark, Conduit, Dark Mountain, Elephant Journal, The Glasgow Review of Books, The Good Men Project, Gulf Coast, Hobart, McSweeney’s, The Moth, Opium, Paper Darts, Phoebe, The Quarterly, RHINO, Seventeen, Southern Poetry Review, Sulfur River Review and The Sycamore Review. His writing has also been featured in public art projects and on public radio. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Three excerpts from Brazil, Indiana

He didn’t realize until later the irony
of buying his first Playboy

from a store with a dirt floor
and one dim light bulb on a chain.

Ten-years-old is too young for irony. Even in Brazil, Indiana.
Decades of dust caked the tin-dark windows.

The lady spitting tobacco juice into a cup
next to the cash register told him she wouldn’t bag it,

so the kid snuck the magazine home hidden
up his shirt. He walked alleys all the way.

Rusty staples tore the naked centerfold.
He sure as hell didn’t.


The roof of the church
welcoming Jesus to our town

reached toward the blue-black sky
like an umbrella blown
inside-out, landed in an overflowing

gutter. Soaked, broken parishioners
entered and exited through the back

— single-file with their heads
already bowed
and their eyes closed.

To this day nobody knows how
folks found their way.


An undertaker in his twenties
moved to town with his wife and
their brand-new baby and silver dog.

They made their family home
in the upstairs of the funeral chapel
where no one had lived in years.

They drove the hearse everywhere
with that dog’s shimmering head stuck out
the front passenger-side window.

We just waved and wished them luck.
It had been a long time since
we felt so ready to die.


If you wish to read the poems in page view, the following link will take you to a PDF – Brian Beatty Poems

All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet.


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The Glasgow Review of Books (ISSN 2053-0560) is an online journal which publishes critical reviews, essays and interviews as well as writing on translation. We accept work in any of the languages of Scotland – English, Gàidhlig and Scots.

We aim to be an accessible, non-partisan community platform for writers from Glasgow and elsewhere. We are interested in many different kinds of writing, though we tend to lean towards more marginal, peripheral or neglected writers and their work. 

Though, our main focus is to fill the gap for careful, considered critical writing, we also publish original creative work, mostly short fiction, poetry and hybrid/visual forms. 

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